Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat appointed first Chief of Defence Staff
Army chief General Bipin Rawat has been appointed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), according to a government order issued late on Monday evening.
General Rawat’s elevation to the top military post - he will head the department of military affairs that is being set up under the defence ministry - had been widely expected ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to create the top military post from the ramparts of the Red Fort in August this year.
The order said, “the government has decided to appoint General Bipin Rawat, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, ADC as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) with effect from 31.12.2019 and until further orders.”
In his new role that begins in the new year, Gen Rawat will not exercise any military command but has been tasked to strive to bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services.
General Rawat would also act as the principal military adviser to defence minister Rajnath Singh on all tri-services matters and focus on promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing.
The CDS will also function as the permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), a post that was held in rotation by the senior-most service chief.
The recommendation to appoint the CDS, a major reform in India’s higher defence management, was first made by the Kargil Review Committee that felt it was necessary to provide a single-point professional military advice to the political leadership.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) set up after the Kargil conflict had also strongly recommended the creation of a CDS in 2001 but successive governments were unable to build consensus around a CDS.